Page last updated at 23:02 GMT, Sunday, 17 May 2009 00:02 UK

Fruit and veg for under 1 a day

Fruit and vegetables
Fruit and vegetables are often more expensive out of season

A limited budget need not be a barrier to eating healthily, as five portions of fruit and vegetables can cost just 80p a day, says a nutritionist.

The World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) is concerned the credit crunch will see shoppers ditching healthy food items.

But the WCRF's Nathalie Winn said shoppers should buy in season and also use cheaper tinned and frozen produce.

Fruit and vegetable consumption has been linked with a reduced risk of some types of cancer.

If you shop carefully there is no reason why you cannot have plenty of fruits and vegetables even on a very limited budget
Nathalie Winn, WCRF nurtritionist

Eating a variety of fruits could decrease the risk of developing cancers of the stomach, mouth, pharynx and larynx by nearly a fifth, and of the the oesophagus by 5%.

Foods containing lycopene, such as tomatoes, have been shown to decrease the risk of prostate cancer by 20% the WRCF said.

Increases in food prices, and pressures on the family budget because of continuing economic problems, may prompt people to buy less fruit and vegetables because they think they are too expensive and are worried about wastage, they warned.

Frozen and tinned

Ms Winn put together a daily menu to prove it is possible to get the recommended five portions a day for less than £1.

"The fact is that fresh fruit and vegetables can sometimes be expensive," she says.

"But if you shop carefully there is no reason why you cannot have plenty of fruits and vegetables even on a very limited budget.

"The secret is not to restrict yourself to the fresh fruit section of the supermarket, because frozen vegetables and canned fruit also count towards your five portions a day and they often cost much less."

She also advised to stick to fresh produce that is in season and to look for value for money.

Five portions for 80p a day
Banana (with porridge) for breakfast - 14p
Apple (for mid morning snack) - 22p
Baked beans (on a jacket potato) - 29p
Frozen peas as part of evening meal - 8p
Frozen sweetcorn along with the peas, fish and new potatoes - 7p

"People should not be taken in by the latest fashionable 'superfood', because there is no evidence that these are any better for you than more traditional fruit and veg."

Professor Alan Maryon-Davies, president of the Faculty of Public Health, said there is a public perception that a healthy diet was an expensive diet.

"You can eat quite healthily relatively cheaply, especially if you go for the special offers.

He added that people were not always clear about what counted towards their five-a-day.

"Some people don't realise that a glass of fruit juice is a portion, and some people think it just has to be fresh fruit and vegetables."

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